Ask Design Mom Week: Play Makeup

June 2, 2008

Ask Design Mom Question:
Hi Gabrielle,
I have a question and I think
you might be able to help me. When I was little, I loved doing face-painting with my mom and brothers and sisters, especially at Halloween, but at other times, too. We had a nice set of non-toxic face paints from Discovery Toys, and did tiger faces, clowns, mimes, etc.

Discovery Toys no longer carries this set. I’d love to find something similar for my kids, but I’m concerned about finding something safe for their skin. So far, the only “natural” kids’ make-up I’ve found is body glitter and lip balm for little girls, which would not make my 5-year-old son, who wants to look like a pirate, happy. Do you know of any reasonably non-chemical-laced face-paint sets for kids? Thanks! Esther

Design Mom Answer:
Face painting is the best! Thanks for the reminder that it’s a great year-round activity.

Snazaroo and Palmer are two good brands to try — and they’re not very expensive. I haven’t seen a list of ingredients, but they describe their products as cosmetic grade and non-toxic. If you want control of what exactly goes into the paint, here’s a quick recipe to try.

Face painting would be the perfect solution to a boring summer day — and then you could send your child through the sprinklers for quick clean up. What about you Design Mom Readers? Any great face-painting tips we should know about?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Whitney June 2, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I know Klutz carries a facepainting book with lots of ideas and the supplies with it.

and extra supplies:

I’m sure they would be non-toxic – they would have to be to sell to kids.


2 Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck June 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I second the Klutz book…we got it for the kids for Christmas and have used it a ton. Its great paint that is easy to use and easy to remove, and the instruction book helps less creative souls come up with cute ideas (ahem, me!). Even my 1.5 year old boy sits still to play with this, its definitely a great find!


3 Lamchops June 2, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I have a couple of sets of Tattoo stamps from Stampin’Up! I love them because they have darling generic stamps with black or blue ink pads to stamp the image. Then they have skin friendly markers in multiple colors so all you have to do is color it in. I have used mine for the last 2 years of birthday parties & all the kids love it.


4 Velma June 2, 2008 at 7:17 pm

We actually use the Snazaroo paints every couple weeks. It has lasted a long time, came with a great picture booklet to let you copy designs, and the paints come off great with baby wipes. Here’s a post with a picture of my daughter done up like a scary dragon with these paints:


5 Laura June 2, 2008 at 8:08 pm

If you don’t feel like buying something special that you’re not sure you’ll use often, try the simple Crayola Washable paints in the bottles (they might be tempera, but I’m not sure). You can get them at Target and Walmart, and when I was in the market for face paint and asked at Michael’s, they said that this is actually what they use at store kids activities!


6 Dana June 3, 2008 at 9:03 am

I used to be a busker in a former life doing body painting and ace painting at street festivals in Canada.

I used and LOVED the Kryolan paints. They are professional grade and are very easy on the skin. To remove face paint, I highly recommend Cetaphil facial cleanser from Galderma as it is very gentle and does not aggravate little one’s skin (or big ones either – after 10 hours in face paint under the blazing sun it always got rid of my makeup in a moment!


7 Adrienne June 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm

So, this is unorthodox. But more than once I have done face painting for a large, large group, and it was too expensive to get special face paints, so we used…regular acrylic craft paint. With something called “textile medium” mixed in. I know there are a few brands out there, Alene’s is one. The textile medium makes the paint flexible so you can paint on fabric, and it makes it equally awesome for painting on faces–better than the actual face paints I’ve used, since it doesn’t wind up melting down the face in the heat etc. It comes off easily with soap and water. I can’t vouch for the toxicity levels, but since most face paints are only left on for a few hours tops, and since it’s water-based craft paint, it didn’t seem too sinister too me. Very scientific, I know.


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